What just happened? Barnwell on Week 5’s frantic finishes, including the unprecedented Chargers comeback

    Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

In between a typically sloppy Sunday morning game from London and a shockingly one-sided blowout victory by the Bills in Kansas City, Week 5 featured a bevy of wild finishes and dramatic victories. Some of what happened in those games might have just been a one-off or something random, but let’s see what stands out as meaningful takeaways from the four closest contests.

In the Chargers’ come-from-behind win over the Browns, a series of fourth-down conversions showed uncommon aggressiveness. In the Packers’ overtime victory at the Bengals, there were five straight missed kicks and some questionable game management. In the Vikings’ walk-off triumph over the Lions, Detroit got a little unlucky, while Minnesota needs to get back to a former staple. In the Eagles’ comeback against the Panthers, old mistakes returned.

Let’s start with the shootout in Los Angeles, where the teams combined for 41 points and 403 yards in the fourth quarter alone:

Chargers 47, Browns 42

Brandon Staley is on a different level. Over the past 15 years and especially across the past five years, coaches have gotten much more aggressive and collectively made better decisions on fourth downs. Announcers and media members haven’t necessarily caught up — and coaches are still too conservative on the whole — but going for it on fourth down isn’t controversial in the way it was when the Patriots tried to seal a game over the Colts by going for it on fourth-and-2 in 2009.

No team made more mistakes on fourth down or with its game management over the past decade than the Chargers. Norv Turner, Mike McCoy and Anthony Lynn led the Chargers to week after week of infuriating, inexplicable late-game scenarios, and while the players were also to blame for some of those problems, the team often struggled to get out of its own way.

Source: Read Full Article